Kristin Brunk

PhD Student


I have a wide range of interests but am broadly interested in how anthropogenic influences affect the behavioral ecology, adaptation, and conservation of species. I believe that understanding as much as possible about organisms and the ecosystems they inhabit is the best way to begin to conserve biodiversity. I am interested in conducting research that both answers basic scientific questions and has real-world applications for the conservation of biodiversity.

In my PhD research with Dr. Zach Peery and Dr. Anna Pidgeon, I aim to (1) understand how local-scale land management and broad-scale oceanographic conditions contribute to long-term occupancy dynamics of an endangered seabird, the Marbled Murrelet, (2) assess current management strategies for Steller’s Jay populations in high-use areas where their populations have high potential to affect Marbled Murrelet reproductive success, and (3) understand how human food subsidies may affect species’ space-use strategies, fitness, and dominance hierarchies in a behavioral ecology context.


B.S. Fisheries & Wildlife Ecology and Biology | Northland College, 2013


Piper, W.H., K.M. Brunk, G.L. Jukkala, E.A. Andrews, S.R. Yund, N.G. Gould (2018) Aging male loons make a terminal investment in territory defenseBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 72:95.

Piper, W.H., K.M. Brunk, J.A. Flory, and M.W. Meyer (2017) The long shadow of senescence: age impacts survival and territory defense in loonsJournal of Avian Biology 48: 1062-1070.

Brunk, K.M., M.R. Vinson, D.H. Ogle, and L.M. Evrard (2014) Burrowing mayfly populations in Chequamegon Bay, Wisconsin: 2002 and 2012Journal of Freshwater Ecology 29(3):337-344.